Is It Primal? – Ezekiel Bread, V8, Edamame, and Other Foods Scrutinized

In this “Is It Primal?” series of posts I’ve already scrutinized sprouts, cashews, sunflower butter, chocolate milk and a couple dozen other foods for their suitability in a healthy human diet. Today, I’m covering Ezekiel bread, the sprouted grain amalgamation favored by conventional health nuts; V8, the tomato juice with a little vegetable juice mixed in; edamame, the little kid of the soybean family; mezcal, tequila’s mysterious older brother; and tigernuts, which aren’t what you probably think they are.

Ready to go? Let’s do it:

Ezekiel Bread

Ezekiel bread is the stuff that you’d be forced to eat peanut butter and jelly on whenever you went over to your friend-with-the-hippie-parents’ house. The bread would be made from sprouted grains, the peanut butter would be sprouted, and even the strawberry seeds in the strawberry jam would be sprouted. Back then, you just wanted some Wonderbread and Jiffy, but now? Now that you’re health conscious, grain wary, and can rattle off a laundry list of anti-nutrients at a moment’s notice, you see that telltale orange package in the bread section of the Whole Foods and wonder if maybe it’s a decent choice for those times you want to splurge with some buttered bread. So, is it?

Kinda. One study found that eating sprouted grain breads (not Ezekiel, but similar to it) reduced the blood sugar response and increases the glucagon response when compared to eating unsprouted breads, 11-grain, 12-grain, white, or sourdough. That’s pretty good… for a bread. But it’s still bread. I’d like to see it matched up against a lack of bread.

Plus, sprouting might take care of some or most of the phytic acid, but it doesn’t break down the gluten. And with the first ingredient being whole wheat, and other major ingredients including barley and spelt, there’s going to be a significant amount of gluten remaining in the finished product. Some might be degraded, but not all of it. I’d suspect that gluten sensitive people will react “better” to Ezekiel bread, not “well.” Not enough to justify eating it, in my opinion. Celiacs, of course, should avoid it altogether.

Verdict: Not Primal, but possibly better than white bread (and whole grain bread, for that matter).


All your vegetable needs in a can – what’s not to love?

First, the imbalanced sodium/potassium ratio. I have nothing against salt, but it’s fairly well-accepted that an imbalance between sodium and potassium intake is one of the factors involved in developing hypertension. Since one of the best reasons to eat vegetables is to get enough potassium to balance out the sodium you get elsewhere, drinking V8 for the potassium is kinda like eating salmon cooked in soybean oil for the omega-3s. Sure, you’ll technically get some DHA and EPA, but you’ll also get an equal amount of linoleic acid.

Second, seeing as how V8 100% vegetable juice is actually 87% tomato juice (from concentrate), it’s more accurate to say V8 provides all your tomato juice needs in a can. Which is totally fine, but it’s not an effective replacement for your celery, spinach, beet, carrot, lettuce, parsley, or watercress needs. I’m actually a fan of tomato juice, even the pasteurized, reconstituted type. Rather than render it nutritionally void, pasteurization actually increases the lycopene – a potent antioxidant that can help prevent sunburns, among other qualities – content of tomato products (including juice). V8 is great for tomato juice, not “vegetables.”

Third, V8 appears to contain traces of BPA, perhaps because the cans are lined with it (though a type of baby formula had more).

Verdict: Primal – it doesn’t contain added sugar or weird ingredients – but it doesn’t replace actual vegetables.


Edamame have several strikes agianst it, right off the bat. It’s soy, which contains potent phytoestrogens, isoflavones that interact with estrogen receptors in the body. It’s a legume. It’s unfermented, unsprouted, and unsoaked. If it’s being served in the United States, it’s likely genetically modified. So, shall I strike it off the list and move on to the next one? No, of course not. That’s not what we do here.

There are actually some “better” things about edamame when you compare them to other forms of unfermented soy:

Edamame are young soy beans, still in the pods. They are not eaten raw, but they don’t require a lot of cooking. A light steam (or run through the microwave, as sushi restaurants do) will sufficiently tenderize the little beans. These aren’t hardy, difficult-to-digest dried beans. They’re more like green peas or green beans, which I previously gave the stamp of approval.

The fatty acids in edamame are mostly monounsaturated (which we like), whereas soybean oil is mostly polyunsaturated linoleic acid (which we usually want to reduce).

Edamame actually have drastically lower levels of phytoestrogens than mature soybeans. One study found that the phytoestrogen content of edamame samples ranged from 0.02% to 0.12%, while mature soybean samples ranged from 0.16% to 0.25%. The gulf widens when you consider that edamame are a snack, eaten sparingly, while mature soybeans are usually converted into tofu, soymilk, and other products that people consume in large amounts.

I couldn’t find solid data on phytic acid levels in edamame, but that could be an indication of researchers’ utter lack of concern for the levels of phytic acid in edamame. I’d imagine that the phytic acid situation is much like the phytic acid situation in other young legumes like green peas and green beans: not very dire.

While I wouldn’t make it a regular part of my diet, edamame appears to be relatively benign as an occasional snack. Just don’t eat bucketfuls, don’t make it baby’s first food, and don’t get into edamame pancakes or some silliness like that.

Verdict: Not Primal, but don’t stress over a couple handfuls at a sushi restaurant.


To my knowledge, there have been no double-blind, placebo-controlled, peer-reviewed clinical trials comparing the health effects of roasted agave liquor, or mezcal, and steamed agave liquor, also known as tequila. Not every dietary item comes with a litany of Pubmed references, unfortunately. Anecdotes, oftentimes powerful ones, are available – especially when it comes to liquor. I have one about mezcal, believe it or not.

I like my wine, but I usually stop after a glass or two or three. I’ve never been a “liquor guy,” though. Scotch, bourbon, rum, vodka? While I can vaguely distinguish between the good stuff and the bad stuff, I’m not a connoisseur. For tequila, though, I make an exception. I love good tequila (and to a lesser extent, good rum). I don’t drink it much, but I really enjoy it when I do. So when I was in Puerto Vallarta some years ago and got to talking to a crusty old ex-pat in a restaurant near the beach, and he mentioned “illegal mezcal,” I was intrigued. According to the ex-pat (and confirmed via Wiki), true mezcal must come from certain states, like Durango, Oaxaca, Guanajuato, Guerrero, San Luis Potosi, and a few others, while any mezcal produced in unsanctioned areas is illegal. Most bootleg mezcal is dreadful, but the mezcal my new companion could get, he assured me, was “real quality, small-batch stuff.”

So we went. It was unlabeled, pulled straight from the oak barrel where it had been aging for almost four years, and dark as amber. Smoky, fruity, and smoother than any tequila I’d ever had, this mezcal was incredible. I wish I could have taken some home.

Is it Primal? I don’t know I have a definite answer, but if you ever get the chance to try an aged mezcal like I did, don’t even consider passing it up. But yes, for my money, apart from mead it is as Primal as liquor can get. It comes from a cactus, rather than a grain. It’s fermented. If you get mezcal anejo (aged), it will have likely picked up some antioxidant activity from the oak barrels, like whiskeys and other oak-aged spirits do. The roasting process might give it a few more advanced glycation end products (AGES), but it’s not like you’re drinking mezcal on a regular basis (right?). And roasting certain foods, like coffee, actually increases antioxidants, so it might be a wash. Skip the clear stuff designed to get you drunk and fast, and go for the dark stuff that’s had care put into it.

Verdict: Primal.


A single touch of the spacebar makes all the difference in the world, doesn’t it? Imagine if I were to investigate the Primality of tiger nuts. I mean, there are valid arguments on both sides. We eat beef, goat, and lamb testicles on a regular basis (what, you mean I’m the only one?), so why not tiger testes? On the other hand, tigers are carnivores, and we generally don’t eat mammalian carnivores. They’re also endangered, which isn’t a commentary on the health of eating a tiger’s nuts, but still – can’t you find something else to eat? Sheesh.

But this is about tigernuts, not tiger nuts. Tigernuts are a kind of tuber found in a species of sedge native to warm temperate and subtropical regions of the Northern hemisphere. In ancient Egypt, they were pounded and formed into cakes. Today, they’re eaten raw, soaked in water to remove bitter tannins and phytonutrients, dried in the sun to turn into flour, or roasted. Tigernut tubers are fairly high in fat, with most of it being monounsaturated, specifically oleic acid. They contain ample levels of soluble fiber, which can be helpful for feeding gut flora.

Although one study found that tigernuts contain a decent amount of antinutrient factors (some oxalates, saponins, and a tiny amount of phytate), those were mostly mitigated by the roasting process, and a group of lab animals who ate a raw tigernut-rich diet thrived (PDF).

Verdict: Primal.

That’s it for today, folks. As always, keep sending in questionable foods, either through the contact form or in the comment section of this post. Thanks for reading!

TAGS:  is it primal?

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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126 thoughts on “Is It Primal? – Ezekiel Bread, V8, Edamame, and Other Foods Scrutinized”

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  1. Great stuff, thanks Mark for clarifying more food myths and that BPA in baby food was very worrying. That touched a nerve with me, how can they do that…

    Gutted on Edamame, I’ll feel a touch a touch of guilt when I have it!

  2. Glad you addressed V8 – i hate the stuff just to drink but the wife likes to make chili with it so that’s helpful. The one I ran across recently caught my attention because it hyped “0 calories and NO artificial sweeteners” – this is the various berry flavors of Sobe Life Water. The label says no sugar but about 3 carbs per serving. The stuff tastes unnaturally sweet for something with no sweetener. Anybody have a take on that stuff?

    1. The Internet says it’s sweetened with Reb A (stevia, Purevia brand) and erythritol, a sugar alcohol. It is also loaded with thickeners. I doubt it’s Primal, and it definitely falls into my Not Food category.

    2. In addition to the Previa, etc. there’s also several chemical ingredients that make up the “artificial flavors” or “natural flavors”. The manufacturer doesn’t have to list all of these ingredients on the label. Unfortunately not food in my mind. Too bad because I do like them once in a while

  3. Love the bit about Tiger Nuts. Also good to hear about V8 and edamame. Too often do I have friends ask me about edamame.

  4. Okay — so where can I locate tigernut flour? And will the pancakes I make from it have black and orange stripes?

  5. Mark, you are probably not the first to write the words “mescal” and “double blind” in the same sentence. I’m sure Hunter Thompson beat you to it.

  6. I don’t know if he has ever done this one but can you determine if horchata is primal? For one thing, I love real Mexican food. When I go to real restaurants, I can’t pass up a cold glass of horchata. Also, I do rice but usually wild rice but I’ll eat it. The ingredients for traditional horchata is, well from my favorite restaurant, some ground rice, vanilla, cinnamon and I think sesame seeds. Related to this post, in Spain they make horchata from tigernuts.

    1. First, check with the staff to make sure it is actually real horchata. In Houston, despite having eaten in hundreds of different allegedly Mexican eateries, I have yet to find real horchata. Never heard of sesame seeds being used, but everyone makes it a little differently. Almonds are not an uncommon choice. Vanilla, cinnamon, and seeds/nuts have all been judged primal, but I’m not sure about the rice. The sweetener would likely not be primal per se, and the dairy (if you use it) is in a Primal gray area. I would use cream+water, xylitol, just the rice and cinnamon and put it in the 80/20. Vanilla is not traditional in horchata but probably is nice.
      I’m no Rick Bayless or Diana Kennedy but i do have all their books.

      1. Thanks for the answer, next time I go to the restaurant I’ll talk to them to make sure it’s the real thing and get the actual ingredients.

        1. Just make horchata from tigernuts. In Spain it is called horchata de chufa. Very very good.

  7. so glad to get the okay on mezcal! i am not a big drinker, but i do love good tequila. frankly, i haven’t really worried about it too much up to now, because i drink so little of it that i felt like it was easily covered in the 80/20 wiggle space, but now i don’t even have to put it into that category! thanks.

    1. After 1/2 glass: “Might be Primal.”
      After 3/4 glass:”I think this is Primal.”
      After 1 glass: “Dude. Definitely Primal!”

    1. According to Wikipedia, GM tomatoes are not currently available commercially, although scientists are working on it.

      I happen to like the low sodium version of V8, although a lot of people don’t care for the flavor. Actually, if you’re into juicing and have a garden, you can make your own V8.

        1. Hi Suzan! While I am against genetically modified foods, the link you provided is only saying that V8 juices contain high fructose corn syrup from GMO corn, it doesn’t reference tomatoes as there are no GMO tomatoes as they all fail In consumer tests on things like taste and texture. Also at this point V8 has removed hfcs from all of their tomato juices (unsure on the fruit juices) so I wonder if the referenced link Is outdated or giving outdated information.

    2. Not only that, but even the low-sodium stuff TASTES LIKE THE CAN IT CAME IN!

  8. Thanks for the informative (and incredibly funny) post, Mark! I am glad that I don’t have to feel guilty when going for sushi anymore! Plus – now I want to try mescal. I think I’ll pass on the V8 (and tigernuts!) though. 🙂

  9. Thanks for the update on Ezekiel bread. I had really great success losing weight and improving everything on a nearly primal diet–grassfed meats, low carb, organic veggies–called The Maker’s Diet. The only grains allowed were sprouted. Plus, Ezekiel bread is so pricey it became a treat rather than a mainstay.

    Unfortunately for me, grains are a slippery slope and one slice of Ezekiel turned into one tortilla for a wrap then to one slice of regular wheat bread then to cereal in the a.m. You see where I’m going. During a time of significant life stress, the grain train crushed me under its gluten wheels and the grain hunger returned, bringing back all that weight.

    So now I am totally primal with regard to grains. They are totally off limits, even Ezekiel bread, which I liked. I don’t even 20 with them. The savage hunger is gone and the weight is coming back off. Thanks so much, Mark!!

    1. “Unfortunately for me, grains are a slippery slope and one slice of Ezekiel turned into one tortilla for a wrap then to one slice of regular wheat bread then to cereal in the a.m”

      Rhonda, I think you have hit the nail on the head here…
      Bread, of any form, is not a primal food to start with, and having substitute breads just keeps out bread habit going, making us more likely to end up eating real bread when we shouldn’t.

      here’s an interesting test I apply – if the food is a finger food, and is anything other than a single item (e.g. an piece of fruit, a carrot, a chicken leg, nuts, etc) then it almost certainly has “flour” of some kind in it – usually wheat.

      Finger foods also encourage eating on the run, and snacking, both of which have their own problems.

      if the goal of the recipe is to make a finger food, you almost always end up with flour of some sort in there.

      If the goal is something to be eaten with a knife and fork, you almost never don’t “need” the flour.

      So, while holding foods with your fingers is definitely “primal”, almost all “finger foods” are not.

      Best to avoid them entirely, and sit down for a real meal, IMO

    2. I agree about the Ezekiel bread. I became acquainted with it while doing the fat flush diet. It’s a gateway drug as far as I’m concerned.

      1. Correct. My arthritis pains and such didn’t go away until I had given up my couple of slices of Ezekiel bread per day habit. Wheat is wheat, as far as I am concerned. That small amount of wheat stifled my pain relief and energy level.

        1. “My arthritis pains and such didn’t go away until I had given up my couple of slices of Ezekiel bread per day habit.”

          I know it’s common to see statements like this on MDA, but that line just struck me as so wonderful and important. Your arthritis pain (a condition people spend countless dollars trying to remedy) is GONE because you avoid toxic food. It really is amazing and I’m so happy for you.

    3. Amen to this! I used to eat low carb bread a lot. Even the one from Julians with 0 net carbs. I CRAVED bread all the time ! I would eat cake and bread samples at the grocery stores due to the craving.
      Since finding Primal/Paleo I too am 100% compliant ( i.e no grains or legumes) in that regard.

  10. I’m a fan of V8 – a better morning drink than OK or soymilk. They do make a low sodium variety, which helps.

    1. Another low-sodium V8 fan here. 2 8-oz. cups/day is how I get my 2mg potassium/calorie ration.

  11. Edamame is just the latest fad food in the US. It’ll be history in a few more years. Meanwhile, if you feel the need to eat beans or need a magnesium boost, limas are probably a better choice.

    1. It may be a fad food but I don’t think that means it will be history, it will just not be interesting. What is a fad food that actually disappeared?

      I do think one thing to consider about edamame is the psuedo-estrogen effect.

      1. You’re right, John. I should have been more explicit. It will be the FAD that is history, not necessarily the FOOD, if edamame can be called a food. (Sorry, but I’m not a fan of soy in any form.)

      2. “What is a fad food that actually disappeared?”

        Steak, kidney and oyster pie or pudding. Glarum (rotted fish sauce). Silphium (a herb, now extinct). And maybe the original recipe Coca Cola counts, before they replaced the cocaine with caffeine.

        1. Actually, I’ve made, served, and enjoyed steak and kidney pie. You gotta work with the kidneys–remove tubules, bring it to a boil in several changes of water–but they can be tasty enough. Garum is probably kissing cousins to fish sauce, which I get at the local Asian market for pad thai. Silphium, now, that I haven’t tried yet.

          Overboiled Brussel sprouts (especially canned ones, aargh) ought to be abolished, but lightly steamed tender bright green ones are nice. I think canned broccoli has been taken off the market too, for good reason…

    2. In Dallas, Edamame has been served at Sushi restaurants for a least 17 years (as long as I’ve “known” sushi), I’m guessing it is here to stay at least in Texas.

  12. I love these primal/not primal posts. They are really helpful!

    Today’s was a hoot!

    My husband followed suit when I went primal and he’s game for trying the squatty potty I just ordered. Wonder what he would say if I served up some tiger nuts for dinner…


    1. Cool about your hubby. I listen to podcasts in the kitchen and my hubby can hear them where he is sitting at the computer in another part of the house. He likes my food great, but he is also soaking up what I listen to and I noticed he quit buying the junk cookies and fruit pies he usually was buying during the summer. There is a large container of cantaloup he bought and cut up in the fridge now and he announced that after this current case is gone, he is quitting soda pop. Ding Dang–he is changing without any real push on my part!!! It’s a miracle! Then again, he has seen the changes and health improvement plus his 64 year old wife is–quote–“hotter”. Ha.

      1. I’ve been primal for a couple years and have noticed my 64 year old wife is tending that way too. She still eats the occasional piece of bread, but her diet is no longer centered on it. And she no longer turns her nose up at my high-fat kitchen creations. (She made her favorite cole slaw with my home-made mayo last week – woohoo!)

        I hope she keeps up the trend – I want my ‘hottie’ around for a several more decades….

  13. Love Low Sodium V8 Bloody Marys on Sunday mornings. Now I might make them Bloody Marias!

  14. I like drinking mezcal because it makes me even crazier than when I drink tequila

    1. “Buy a juicer if you want juice. ”

      But isn;t that exactly the wrong direction to go?

      The evidence seems to point that fruit sugars are fine, when eaten as the whole fruit, but when juiced, it’s a different story (and we lose the soluble fibre they contain) This still applies to tomatoes, even though cooking them improves the lycopene availability, creating V8 style juices is an easy way to consume too much too fast.

      Worse, still, it encourages snacking. If you are thirsty, have a non caloric drink (or at least, non carb) drink like tea, coffee, a lemon/lime/bitters drink or (sugar free) kombucha.

      If you are hungry, then suck it up until the next meal, and learn to become a grehlin addict, not a sugar one.

      If you must eat fruit, then eat the fruit juice, not the fruit juice

  15. I actually make a horchata facsimile- using coconut milk instead of rice milk. I love it! And if it’s hot and I am feeling really lazy, I throw a scoop of vanilla protein powder in there and call it lunch.

    1. Wow, beautiful idea with the horchata. I’m gonna try it this week. It has to taste good.

    2. Have you tried the Primal Fuel with coconut milk in a…. wait for it… “Slushie Magic”? It tastes like a vanilla/coconut milk shake. Even my KIDS beg for one on a hot day. I add a dash of cinnamon and vanilla and it is a meal/snack/dessert in one.

    1. Agree, whole fruits.

      Blending veggies into smoothies is not unhealthy.

    1. Why would they be less Primal than any other seeds? They are true seeds. Is you question really is opium resin primal? Grok definitely could get it and eat it. Mark, is opium eating Primal?

      1. William burroughs had aa lovely primal origin story about opiates. Grok eats the dried poppy heads in the winter, they stop his hunger…
        I’ve eaten dried poppy heads when I was on the road and starving as a young man, not easy (chewed them with dried apple) but got me where I was going.

  16. Loved the intro paragraph for the Ezekiel bread. Made me laugh in recognition. I ate that stuff for all of my 18 years of veganhood! (“Mmm! It’s so HEALTHY!”) 🙂

  17. For those of us who find most vegetables unpalatable, what is a good way to get the benefits of vegetables without having to taste the nasty things?

    1. Smother them with butter and (sea) salt.

      Failing that, think of some savoury flavour that you like – curry, mustard, cheese, even beef bone broth, and cook them in that.

      Rice, peas, asparagus, carrots, etc cooked in bone broth, with butter, is great.

      A favourite of my mother is peas/green beans with cream and nutmeg.

      i have also found, that oven cooking veg makes them taste better than any other way (except bbq, of course). Use no water and lots of fat – pork lard or goose fat, if you can find it, is amazing, but chicken fat will do too.

      The more fat you have with them, the better they taste.

      1. OH YEAH!! BUTTER. I just found my local Walmart (small town, less choice) is now selling Kerrygold butter. I don’t have to travel to the next town to get it. My dad used to make butter with our own cow milk (grassfed cows) and we kids would line up for the popcorn he made with it. (We grew our own popcorn too). I never liked the milk, however, because of the FAT on top. I was young and stupid.

    2. Cooking them in bacon fat makes them taste much better. I always had trouble eating veggies before primal, but bacon fat changed my life.

    3. I blend my veggies into smoothies. Coconut milk with a couple handfuls of spinach, maybe some blueberries and ice.

    4. Butter, salt, spices, coconut or olive oil. I’d guzzle olive oil straight, but I know a lot of people find it too strong even to drizzle on their salad. Play around with spices! I like to stirfry mine in broth a lot, which someone already suggested.

      1. I’d love some Chubacca but I heard it can be rather Chewy…

    1. It is!
      Eat it with confidence (if it does not eat you first)

  18. Sprouting does not effect gluten, but many days of fermentation does.

    1. Does that mean sourdough bread (the real homemade stuff that’s only risen via fermentation, without the addition of yeast) might be more primal than Ezekiel bread? Or at least less gluten??

      1. Some Italian researches have isolated a specific L. bacillus strain/strains that have made sourdough breads tolerated by Celiac patients.

      2. Sourdough bread is the worst for me! If I eat sourdough bread it tends to hit me like a Mack truck with the stomach aches/depression! I had been eating primal for about a month and my aunt basically forced me to eat bruschetta. And then next day I did not want to get out of bed — and for the most part didn’t. That was feedback!

        Other wheat items don’t seem to have as bad of an effect. Bread not as much and pasta hardly at all.

  19. Sprouting also increases vitamin A, C, and E. In addition, it makes grains or pseudo grains a good source of magnesium, something “Primal” eaters are often lacking in.

    No, bone broth does not have much magnesium in it, despite popular myth. I don’t have the study at my fingertips, but it’s out there.

    1. Apparently cacao is a good source of magnesium.
      Today I was eating some river oysters and tree dwelling ants and I think I could taste the minerals in them as they tasted somewhat metallic.

      1. Animanarchy, can I go with to this river and dine on those things that you eat? That’s as primal(eating) as you can get! What other sorts of wild creatures do you eat in nature?

  20. i’ve always wondered about the ezekiel bread. i figured it was not primal, as it always irritates my belly. thanks for clarifying.

  21. You know, Mark, your newsletter emails are the only ones I read. I’m signed up to dozens of course, but I actually look forward to getting yours. Great posts, very useful, and entertaining. (Tiger nuts – lol) Keep it up! 😀

  22. Since my days on Atkins in the late 90s, I’ve never been a big bread eater at home, but some things just need bread. I probably eat 1 or 2 loaves per year. I hate Ezekiel bread, but like “7 Sprouted Grains” made by the same company.

  23. “Today, they’re eaten raw, soaked in water to remove bitter tannins and PHYTONUTRIENTS, dried in the sun to turn into flour, or roasted.”

    I thought phytonutrients were a good thing? Did you mean phytates?

  24. Del Maguey is the best mezcal, period. Made by artisans in a number of villages in Oaxaca, using hot stones for the roasting, horses for the milling (or sometimes men wielding wooden bats – how’s that for primal?), and some of the stills are even made of clay. The flavors are so complex, I would put any one of their varieties up against any of the best scotches. Check it out, it’s worth every penny.

    Oh, and, Mark: the agave is no longer classified as a cactus. It has it’s own family, Agavaceae. (had to look that up)

  25. So, what are the thoughts on “odd” tubers such as oca, yacon, mashua etc? I can tell you oca contains oxalic acid, yacon is said to contain lots of inulin, but beyond that I’ve no idea…

    1. My thoughts on yacon is that it’s delicious. I know people who think it tastes like bark, but that’s the appeal. 😀

  26. I just saw an article about pasta made from green bananas. Primal or not?

  27. V8? Really? Processed nastiness with iodized junk salt in a can? Disappointing.

  28. Had my first mezcal 20+ years ago in Mitla, Oaxaca, and have never looked back since. When had in its truest form, it is the smoothest taste around. Even better when put in the freezer:-)

  29. Mark, your thinking is so close to mine. I really LOVE a fine brand of tequila, not much at one sitting, maybe 3 oz., but a great brand is hard to beat. That’s it for alcohol for me but I do love it on occasion, about every other week.

    Also, the sprouted bread is near and dear to my heart about every other week also. I find I need it to make sense of things. I fix my DH probably 10 sandwiches a week, he loves the john durst potato bread (!!!!) but they’re beautiful sandwiches and I just need something every now and then to satisfy that desire. I keep the sprouted bread in the freezer, double bagged, and it lasts a very long time but has a purpose in my life these days.

  30. This is a very helpful series of posts. I’m actually not familiar with any of the foodstuffs covered but it’s good to know nonetheless.

    My question is to do with injera. It’s a type of flatbread that is eaten with practically every meal in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Very popular. Back home it’s made with teff. But in North America the grains tend to be mixed, e.g. barley and wheat. The difference is noticeable. People who travel back and forth notice how bloated they get when they eat injera here versus back home. The whole topic of injera is a huge obstacle for people in my community in terms of adopting primal/paleo. It’s part of the culture. And buying teff is out of the question cause it is so expensive here. What do you recommend?

    1. I love injera, too, and your comment inspired me to look into this further. has an interesting article on teff (rest of URL is: /mag/farming_teff_takes_off), with a list of seed sources at the bottom of the page. Looks like the median price is around $3.50 a pound plus shipping. I just might try growing some!

  31. What about bread made from older strains of wheat, like emmer? it’s probably not Primal, but it’s certainly better than this new dwarf hybrid wheat crap. Isn’t is the new set of proteins from dwarf hybrid wheat causing the most problems, as Dr. Davis says?

    No it’s not primal, but it could be a viable part of 80/20.

  32. We LOVE having egg and bacon “butties” as my British husband calls them. They’re scrambled egg and bacon sandwiches with green onions and a thin slice of cheese on Ezekiel bread with mayonnaise. Pure heaven. We have these every Saturday morning, and EZ bread is the only bread I’ve found that’s close to Primal that doesn’t fall apart.

  33. Coming from a tequila & mezcal aficionado, just one nitpick – technically agave is *not* a cactus, and is not even related. It is a succulent plant related to yucca.

    Can’t wait for the Tijuana Tequila Expo in October!

  34. Dangit, just bought some Ezekiel bread a few days ago!! But thanks for the info as usual Mark, I’ll finish up this loaf and then call it quits.

  35. How about Tiger Nuts, AKA people who just go BONKERS over TIGERS!? 😀

  36. I laughed when I read the tigernuts heading. Got kinda confused for a second. Although I’m sure there’s plenty of protein in those things. Thanks for turning me on to the tuber though; i’ll definitely have to try those out.

  37. Fantastic. Thank you for making everything so clear, rational, and straightforward. Really helps out us layfolk just trying to do well by our bodies.

  38. i’m glad you wrote about edamame.

    (i still like it now every now & then when i eat out.)


  39. We live in Chihuahua, Mexico, where the traditional drink is sotol, made from a different member of the agave family than tequila. Because quality has been uneven, it has not enjoyed a high reputation. But Celso Jaques, of Janos, Chihuahua, 30 miles from where we live, has taken extraordinary care to perfect his grandfather Don Cuco’s recipe, and his mission is to introduce truly fine sotol to the world. He’s having remarkable success, having won the gold medal two years running against more than 60 tequilas and mezcals in the annual San Diego, California competition and again in Albuquerque last summer. In Albuquerque they didn’t want to accept it because sotol didn’t have a classy reputation, but the Mexican consul intervened; so they let it in to the competition. Surprise! It took the gold medal. Sotol has a unique flavor. There are some other “pretty good” brands, but the Don Cuco brand stands out alone. It’s available in regular, aged, and creme. It’s not sold everywhere yet, but we’ll surely hear more about it in the future. (Google, and see video

  40. Thanks for covering these ‘products’ Mark – not seen those names in the UK market before but it has been interesting to read of the sort of warning signs to be aware of in various marketed superfoods – I will continue to be vigilent in checking the primal credentials of such foods, especially anything with ‘bread’ in its name!

  41. I like Ezekiel wraps. I don’t even know what white bread tastes like like. lol. As someone who was never a big consumer of grains or cereals, I never went primal because of the carb/grain creep, but I’ve always been curious about your ‘official’ stance on sprouting grains.

  42. Ezekiel bread was meant to be eaten as a punishment. It was also meant to be baked over a fire of human waste. Most people seem to forget these things.

  43. I like to have a slice of Alvardo Street Diabetic Lifestyles Bread once a day as it is *very* low on the Glycemic Index. I love to have a slice with eggs and sausage for breakfast in the morning. From their website:

    “In their daily life, it’s very important for diabetics to know the insulin response of a food in order to predict their blood sugar response. “Diabetic Lifestyles Bread”, a 100% Sprouted Whole Grain recipe, was submitted for testing to the Glycemic Research Institute in Washington, D.C. and was clinically proven to be Low Glycemic with a Low Glycemic Load when fed to diabetics. Actual clinical results show a Glycemic Index of 5.0 on the glucose scale (0-100) and Glycemic Load of 0.9 per serving. Additionally, diabetics experienced a reduction in blood glucose by the end of the testing period!”

    1. Thats’ “Alvarado”—looked up the company’s website. This stuff is a GLUTEN NIGHTMARE—it contains wheat berries, wheat gluten, and cultured wheat (whatever THAT is) w/ some soy lethecin thrown in for good measure. Didn’t look at the nutrition information; I used to eat high-protein low-carb bread regularly and decided that I was probably allergic to wheat after a very scary choking incident while eating a sandwich made w/ said bread. I remembered that way back when my mother had mentioned that the eczema I had when I was a toddler was probably a wheat allergy, back in the 50s before modern Frankenwheat was developed.
      So, even though I am diabetic this stuff won’t help me or anybody else.

  44. V8 definitely doesn’t beat old fashion raw veggies that’s for sure but decent stuff in a pinch. Can’t say I’ve ever enjoyed the taste though personally, but I know plenty of people who do.

  45. Tequila and Mezcal both pass the Primal test, and date back over 2000 years. Both are made in a similar fashion, and can be roasted or steamed. The main difference is that tequila is only made with Weber Blue Agave, and Mezcal is made from a variety of agave. Your best bet is to be sure your choice says 100% Agave on the label. Anything else is not primal, since up to 49% of the alcohol is from fermented cane sugar. Also, there are many documented health benefits from tequila. Gracias a Dios!

  46. I love the great information…. I just wanted to add regarding edamame…. at the end of the day, regardless of the nutrients, it’s still probably GMO… so unless the packaging states “Organic non GMO” I’m not touching it! LOL

  47. Just shut up about all the opinions on food and let people enjoy their lives. Funny how we all began eating fresh kills, seeds, and well anything to fill the stomach and now we debate if a sesame seed is good for us. We all have 70ish years, hopefully, enjoy them, just be smart.

  48. Ezekiel bread when eaten in moderation 1-2 slices per day (if not a gluten intolerant person) is MUCH better for you than regular bread. If you want to debate bread or no bread, or gluten-free, I’m not arguing that point. However, for a bread given what I said above, it’s low on the glycemic index and obviously should be balanced with veggies and/or some protein.

  49. Love the mezcal story. While I doubt the juice you tasted was actually Ilegal Mezcal, you should know that there is a brand by such a name. It is fantastic and they are one of the few mezcal brands that have an joven (unaged), reposado, and anejo. And you are spot on, the anejo is fantastic! Dark, smoky, vanilla, cinnamon, heat….yummy! You can find it all over NYC and on the internet if it is not in your town.

  50. I find it odd that you don’t mention the sodium/potasium balance in ezekial bread. 0 Sodium and more potassium than the white bread you say it “might” be better than. It is better. Not primal. But, if you are still a person who needs bread, I think it is the best bet on the market.

  51. I ate four slices of ezekiel bread today and I feel like dying. LIke I have a metal sponge running through my intestines, what can I do? please help tomorrow is my high school graduationa dn I dont wnat to be in so much pain

  52. Ok, I have just read the comments from Mark reference Mezcal. Tequila is one of my favorite; however, what absolutely intrigued me was the abandon of Paleo “protocal” while thoroghly enjoying the use of a wonderful substance created with totally wholesome products. I loved the playfulness and the sense of humor used to remind us all that life is fun, rare opportunities rarely present themselves, so please remember that and enjoy them. I truly had a belly laugh over it and hope their are many others who enjoyed as much as me. Teqjila is not for every day but the worm is certainly a Paleo trade off.

  53. I have a weird question. I am doing a 30 day 100% paleo challenge. I’m on day 4 and my cravings are already starting to decrease. (They are still bad… But not as bad as on days 1-3) I have acne and intolerances to at least gluten and lactose. I also want to lose a few pounds before summer rolls around. After day 30, if I have a cheat meal… Or a cheat day???? will it ruin everything? Will I be almost starting over with cravings and fatigue and all those unpleasant side effects??

  54. Hi- I am on a low oxalate diet and trying to find out if sprouting grains reduces the amount of oxalates in them. Specifically what the content of oxalates is in Ezekial bread.
    Appreciate any help,

  55. Tiger Nuts are also very difficult to get I imagine the Tigers are not just going to let you take them. Tigernuts can be ordered on Amazon, so simple.

  56. I do believe that the gluten in sprouted bread is intact so it cant be broken down in the gut minimizing a gluten sensitivity

  57. Just kind of curious… Mezcal comes from a cactus, so it’s labeled “primal”. While agave, which comes from the same cactus, is “not primal”.

    And, I’m talking about using both in moderation.

    Please explain….